November 24, 2006

TGI'm not working on Black Friday.

Black Friday, the two most dreaded words of a retail employee's life. At Charlotte Russe, my place of employment since its opening three years ago, it is referred to as Green Friday, for obvious reasons. This year, I'm thankful that I did not have to work today. My good friend and co-worker, Kelly, had to be up at 3 a.m. to be at the store by 5 a.m. and according to her voicemail, she wasn't allowed to go home until almost 5 this afternoon.

I've been meaning to blog a "Guide to Retail Shopping Etiquette" and I think that'll start now, since I have free time as all my family is sleeping. Well, my uncle is having a midnight snack. =)

I'll begin by telling a story that happened to me last week. A woman and her daughter approached the register, the mother set down a pair of shoes with her credit card on top. Right away I knew it was going to be a super fun transaction, especially when silence and a dirty look responded to my greeting. I didn't know saying hello was such a crime.

I rung the dynamic duo up, flipped the credit card over, and alas, it was not signed.

"Ma'am, may I see your ID, please?"

*Insert annoyed-huffing noise here*

"I'm sorry, your card is not signed on the back"

"Well this is just a pain in my ass!!" *digging through the purse commenses*

"It's store policy, I'm sorry"

*drivers license proceeds to be thrown at my face*

By this point, I've had it. Yes, I'm providing this woman a service for which she is paying for, but there comes a point where I realize that my dignity is worth a hell of a lot more than her $22.99. I threw the license back at her, shaking with rage. I could feel my cheeks get hot.

"You pick that up and hand that to me!," she screamed.

"No ma'am, you hand it to ME," I said.

So of course, she asked if I had a boss. Duh, I have a boss. Hannah, my amazing general manager, listened to her qualms. Apparently she'd never been treated to rudely in her life. I find that hard to believe given her manner. Hannah told me everything she said when in one ear and out the other. After Hannah found out the woman had thrown her ID at me, it was over. She wouldn't have been mad even if projectiles had not been involved, but it sealed the deal.

I deal with people like this all the time. I'd like to shed some light on the life of a retail employee: I'll start from the time the customer enters the store. "You" are the customer.

1. You enter the store and there's the annoying greeter. I've been the greeter, and believe me it's terrible. Most of the time people blow me off. My first tip is, listen to that greeter. They're not there to try to follow you around and help you pick out clothes, unless you ask them to. The job of the greeter is simply to let you know the promotions, so take two seconds and listen.

2. If you need help getting a shirt down, or you need clothes from a mannequin, or you just can't find what you're looking for, ASK POLITELY. You'll get a much better response that way. I couldn't even begin to count the times customers who think Iím literally a slave have treated me like dirt. Yes, customer service is top priority, but what happened to manners? There are so many times I've been commanded to do something, and it gives me a bad attitude.

3. Shoes. The dreaded shoes. Please do not hand me 7 pairs of shoes and say, "I need these in a 6 and a 7." It is absolutely ludicrous to ask me to bring you 14 pairs of shoes.

If you are a size 9, a size 6 in our store is NOT going to fit you. At least twice a week I have a customer who asks for several pairs of shoes in one size, then asks for a size two to three sizes higher, and they end up purchasing the higher size. Don't you know what size shoes you wear?

DO NOT ask me to bring you out every style of boot we have left in your size. That's simply ridiculous. This is common at Christmas time, when boots are picked over. We usually carry about 30 different styles of boots. Chances are if you ask me to do that, I'm not going to. I'll go back and look for 5 styles at the most. If you can't decide what style of boot you'd like to try, then you don't need boots that badly.

4. Do not walk past me on your way to the fitting room, then stand there and stare at me. Can't you just ask for one when you walk past?

If you've locked yourself out of the room more than 7 times, yes I've had this happen, go home.

DO NOT LEAVE CLOTHES IN A HEAP IN THE FITTING ROOM. DO NOT HANG THEM UP INSIDE OUT. If you're taking the time to hang them, do it the right way. Also, there's bar outside the fitting rooms for a reason. If you're too lazy to walk two feet to that bar, hand your unwanted items to an associate. We appreciate it, thanks.

Mothers do not leave your children unattended while you're in the fitting rooms. We're not a day care center.

5. When I say hello to you at the register, say hello back. When I ask who was helping you today and you say nobody, I know you're lying, especially if you have shoes. Somebody had to physically get them for you. We don't work on commission and even if we did, what do you loose by saying who helped you?

WAIT to hand me your form of payment. I actually have to push buttons and scan tags before the transaction is complete.

When I say thank you, say thank you back.

DO NOT talk on your cellular telephones while I'm ringing you up. It's rude, and how will you know if I miss giving you a discount? Even though I'd never do that on purpose. Nope, never.

Do not attempt to return panties, clearly worn shoes or clothes. We're not stupid, and it's not going to fly. Also, if you're returning something after 30 days and you want your money back, too bad. The return policy is on the back of the receipt and on the cashwrap signs. If you can't decide if you want that shirt after a month, then you should seek therapy.

Do not come to the register with piles of clothing and ask how much it will cost in total. Are you kidding me? Everything in the store is something-99. Round up, add. There's your total.

These are just a handful of the things I witness everyday. Ignorance. You wouldn't believe some of the things I'm told to do, or yelled at for, if I told you. I once had a man returning a shirt and I politely asked if there was anything wrong with it. "YEA! It's CHEAP!" he said. Apparently he didn't know we don't manufacture the clothing, we just sell it. P.S. it's Charlotte Russe, not Saks. The most expensive thing we have is fifty dollars, and that's going to be a winter coat or boots. If you don't want to take the chances of a button falling off or a thread pulling out, make your own clothes.

I may sound bitter, and I may sound like I'm terrible at my job. I've been there longer than anybody, even the managers. I love my job for the most part, but dealing with surly people ruins the holidays, and an average day at that. So if you read this, keep it in mind the next time you're shopping. It'll be a much more pleasant experience for you and the person providing you the service.

Posted by StormyKnight at November 24, 2006 11:31 PM

Very funny post. Next year, avoid the lines and shop online. Every year, more items are being made available for purchase online at the Black Friday price.

Posted by: Black Friday Shopper at December 6, 2007 9:59 AM

THANK YOU! Ive been meaning to work on one of these. I work at a very popular retail chain and I wish I could print this and hand it out!! Thanks so much for posting!!!

Posted by: Tabitha at November 22, 2007 6:56 PM

I really enjoyed this post...Very humorous and sarcastic at times. I can't believe that woman threw her credit card at you-customers can be so rude!!!

Posted by: Katie at November 25, 2006 7:44 PM
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